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Accommodation & Property

Malaga - Accommodation & Property

When choosing where to live in the province of Malaga, many English-speaking expats decide to live nearer the tourist resorts such as Marbella, Benalmadena or Estepona rather than the city of Malaga itself. A sensible idea is to rent first to give yourself an opportunity of testing an area to see if it what you are looking for in terms of facilities, social life, and an important consideration in Spain - noise.

A decent two bedroomed apartment in the city of Malaga costs in the area of 500 to 800 euros per month, excluding bills, whereas in Feungirola or Marbella, the same will cost around 200 euros more, where apartments mainly cater for short term lets and tourists.

When looking to buy, most expats will look for a house rather than an apartment; this will more than likely involve looking outside of the city of Malaga, where apartment living is the norm. A duplex in Fuengirola would cost arund 300,000 euros, however by looking away from the coast into some inland areas, a 3 bedroom detached house would cost around 250,000 euros.

There are many estate agents in the Malaga area that cater specifically for the expat community, an example list of which can be found atwww.viva-malaga.com/estate_agents_c85.php. However, these agencies do charge a premium for both their services and the properties that they let and sell. It is often worth using a local estate agent, who will have access to the same range of properties, yet at a price the locals would be prepared to pay.

All agencies, however, do have their charges. When renting from an agency, be prepared to pay the equivalent of three month's rent before moving in one month's rent, a deposit and an agency finding fee. Most rental charges will not include bills, but should include the Comunidad, or community charge, which pays for cleaning and maintenance of communal areas such as stairways, lifts and garden areas.

Of course, many properties are available to view online. A popular site is www.segundamano.es, which not only advertises properties, but a range of second hand items and professional services. Many agencies also advertise on the website, but if you find a property that is rented out directly from the owner, you can avoid expensive agency fees.

Main regional daily newspapers, in Malaga these are La Opinion de Malaga (www.laopiniondemalaga.es), Diario Malaga and El Correo de Andalucia, all have substantial property guides, particularly on Sundays. The online English newspaper www.surinenglish.com also has a classified ads section.

Property owners in Spain pay two taxes per year on the accommodation they own. The first is the Impuesto sobre Buenes Inmuebles (IB) which is calculated from the cost of the property and land, and is paid at the local tax office SUMA. A list of local offices can be found at www.suma.es. In addition, yearly rates are paid to the local council (Ayuntamiento) to cover costs for street maintenance and waste collection, and the cost varies depending on the area in which the property is situated.

Waste bins are placed outside all residential buildings and sorting of rubbish is expected into the different coloured bins blue for paper and cardboard, yellow for plastics and cans, green for glass and black for non-recyclable items. Larger items can also be placed by the bins to be collected.

Live-in domestic help is relatively uncommon in Spain, however more and more households are making use of cleaners. Agencies advertise in local shops or in English speaking newspapers, but the best source of information for something so personal is word of mouth.

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